Quarantine Devotions at Home

                                                                                                 May 9+10,  2020  — 4th  past Easter

I John 3:1-8

      Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!   Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God;  and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

   Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.  And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.   Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

     Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.  He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

           FROM WHAT COUNTRY IS THIS GIFT?!

Have you ever experienced something truly marvelous?    Your team is far behind.  A  player who is sitting on the bench because of  an injury is brought in to play anyway.  Somehow he  gets things started and your team comes to life and  overwhelms the  opponent!   Where did that come from?  A thrill to behold!   What a victory!

       Our text says something similar.   Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on usthat we should be called children of God!    Behold” means look at, consider, give heed to, See!     “SEE! what I mean!”  the youngster says when he pulls out the $100 that he  just found, but you wouldn’t believe it.  “See,” says the skillful teacher, having explained the hard problem to the geometry student.   We want to see, understand, and experience great things!   In Jesus, we really  have something to SEE, for He is the Light of the World (John 8:12)!  

              John says in our text,  Behold, see!  what manner of love!    He says consider what kind of love  this is!   More literally,  What country does this love come from?!    This is not ordinary love.  It’s out of this world!  After Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples, using  the  same word, said, “What manner of  man is this?” (Matthew 8:27).   What country does this fellow come from?!   This is an out of this world power!  Even the wind and waves obey Him!

             What manner of love.    Love is affection and fondness that a person has for someone or something—maybe a boy for his puppy,  a young lady for her fiancé,a mother for her little one—on this Mother’s Day.   In our text,  John is talking about the  love  God the Father has for us,  the love of  the Ever-living, All-creating God,  Father of all,  which He showers  upon you.   He  bestows  it, gives it freely.   It’s not a loan that you pay back,  but a grant, for you to keep.  

The Father  was  not forced or obligated to give His  love to you.  If  He were obligated, YOU  forfeited your claim a long time ago with your  daily disobedience and sin.    There are  sins of  carelessness—not paying attention while driving and then injuring someone,  not picking up the tools on the floor and then someone trips,  not being alert to the hurt in the eyes of another because you are too busy talking.    There are sins of accident—throwing the winter boots into  the dumpster because they were sitting in a garbage bag ready for summer storage,  catching your toe on the carpet or sidewalk and then knocking down someone in front of you.   There are intentional sins—retaining harsh feelings against someone  because pride won’t let go,  finding  fault with  others so that  they aren’t a threat to you,  spending money foolishly that you needed to save.   And there are sins of weakness—being impatient with a little child,  determining  to curb sin  while sitting at church, but falling  right back into it.   Sinner!    The Father doesn’t owe you any love,  yet He bestows, gives, grants,  to  you,  the slouch and  daily sinner that you are, love from His heart.    Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us.     

           Then follows in our text the most astonishing fact of all!   That we should be called children of God!     God’s purpose in loving you and helping you through life isn’t just to give you a little easier time on earth.   The devil can even do that.     The ungodly, who are always at ease, the Psalm-writer says  (Psalm 73: 12).   God’s purpose and plan for you is much bigger— to adopt you into His family and kingdom as sons and daughters of His inheritance!  He makes you rightful heirs forever!   

This He accomplished, as you well know,  through Jesus,  His Son, your Savior.      It is indeed your pastor’s own fault for so often expressing this marvelous truth  in the same words and  same phrases.  Likely at times you can  predict exactly what he’s going to say.  So you think  to yourself, “Ok, tune out here for a few minutes.”   But never tire of hearing that Good News!  In Jesus it is astonishingly true that you  have daily pardon and peace  from the all-righteous and almighty God.  It is His free gift of love to you.  Jesus has stepped in for you and acted in your behalf.    Jesus willingly put Himself into the worst kind of slavery, taking the suffering and death for your sins and every sin of the world,  so that you are free and can go home.   Through faith in Christ you are an heir of heaven   You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).  

When our text says that we are called children of God.  it’s not saying,  Well, you really aren’t children of God,  He just calls you that.   No.    When God calls you something,  that’s what you are.    On the first day of creation,  God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night (Genesis 1:5).   It has been so ever after.   In Genesis 2 God brought the animals to Adam,    Whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name, (Genesis 2:19).   In Christ God calls you His child.   And you are!  

            Can you sense how astounding this is?     Jesus has brought help and sonship for every needy sinner—even you.  We are often willing to help those who perhaps have fallen on hard times through unforeseen circumstances, like corona virus,   but not those who have  brought it on themselves.  We are willing to  pardon a one-time offender, but not  the repeat-offender, and certainly not all.   We will help those who look and act like us, but maybe not those who are different, dirty, disfigured, or with distinctive in odor.  Jesus has done it all,  for all, and you and I are right in the middle of that dirty pack.   Behold    what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!   

Being God’s child, carries temporary discomfort with it.   The unbelieving world will not recognize you, know you, honor you, or stand with you.   You will be despised and cast aside.  Expect it.  Stop trying to fit in with the crowd,  stop trying to blend,  stop trying to win their favor and respect.    You are not part  of that crowd.   You are children of God though Jesus, eternal heirs of heaven!   You will receive the highest honor when the Lord  reveals Himself at the end.   You will see Him, God, as He is,  a request which not even Moses  was granted while a sinner on this earth.   You will be blameless, holy, at peace,  and in joy,  taken to be with Him in heaven forever!  

             John instructs  us who are children of  God in Christ, to strive to be pure in this life, to abide outside of  sin.  Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him!  It’s so easy for  the Christian, to be lulled into thinking that sin is ok, that to allow self certain sins is all right.  Such  thinking is  from the devil.   Jesus has come to destroy works of the devil and you too if you are in that  camp..   Do not give up your citizenship and sonship for the  allure of Satan and sin.   To miss the target that God establishes—to sin—and to disregard His law is one thing (definigtely damning of itself),  but to say I don’t want to be pure,  I won’t strive for righteousness,  God, you can’t make me do things your way, because I call some shots too, is rebellion.   Whether “big” or “little” rebellion, such a heart denies  the sonship given in Christ..    The same destruction that awaits Satan awaits all who love Satan and sin, more than  God.    

     Do you personally need a marvelous, an impossible,  victory against Satan?   I do.  We all do.  It’s a victory that comes from another country and another world!   Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God !    You are children of God in Jesus!   It’s your new God-given status.   You are forever blessed!    What a gift!      AMEN!